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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Powershift from online ad agencies to media sites and media agencies

Power these days is more than ever a matter of information. Whoever controlls the information has the best access to power. Might not use it effectively, but that's a matter of strategy. First comes access to information and thus (theoretical) power.

Being an employee of a creative online advertising agency, I noticed that the most crucial information - actual campaign results and performance of individual creatives - isn't always fed back to us.

It often stays with the media agencies.

The tracking is done through syndications like Doubleclick, who provide the media agencies with data. Through these systems, data can also be tracked on campaign sites, hence providing data for the complete path from the banner to the filled out contact form - complete measurement of ad effectiveness, all through one system.

The media agencies in turn start using this data to optimise creatives - and thus invade "our territory" of creative execution. Many media agencies already offer complete package deals to companies: media placements, creatives development and optimisation.

Advertisers will soon (if not already) ask themselves: why do I pay that much money to the creative agency, when I get good results from the media company anyway.
And while this might be a single-minded view, and it might not always produce the best creative, this could turn into a broader trend:
- first: wait till media agencies start employing (good) creative people
- and second: these days, results count, not beauty.

I see a serious threat here for the "traditional" online creative agency. It (most often) has no access to the information on how it's output is performing, and hence no way of improving. Of course, this is not always the case, as good relationships between media agency, client and creative agency should result in a good cooperation regarding campaign optimisation.
But in reality, creative agencies are on the receiving end of information.

Compare that to traditional advertising. TV and Newspapers have no way whatseover to measure success on specific ads (except focus group research, which still tends to be done by ad agencies).

Or DM: success measurement is usually done by agency and client, with no intermediate. And if there are intermediates, they tend to be fullfilment agencies, who are not part of any other step in the lead generation process, so they have no say in the creative process.

Online Media agencies are an integral part of the process, as they book the placements in advance, talk to the client about possible utilisation of the booked space and then wait for the creative agency to fill the booked placement. Or, maybe they don't wait, but do it themselves.

As I said, I have encountered quite a few of these "placement&creative" package deals lately, and it makes me think...

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